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Game of Thrones s4e10 book / speculation followup for non-readers: "The Children"

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lukeatlook explains the Game of Thrones season 4 finale:

Welcome to this season's last followup for non-readers! Here you can learn some extra facts from the books that will help you understand the show, or simply recall some things from the past that shed some liught on the scenes from the last episode.

Spoiler scope: "you should be fine". No events past the show's current point in storyline should be spoiled. This may contain spoilers for future books if I point out that a character got killed off early, or deserves a speculation tag if I bring up extra information from the books that could let you jump to conclusions before the show wants you to (like it was with responsibility for Joffrey's poisoning - in the books, Sansa identified the source of the poison right away).

TL;DR: What just happened - How it happened - Why are the book readers slightly disappointed

The King Who Cared

Lord Seaworth is a man of humble birth, but he reminded me of my duty, when all i could think of was my rights. I had the cart before the horse, Davos said. I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne - Stannis Baratheon, turning the game around

So yeah, this is where we book readers gloat in glory and watch you bend the knee to the one true king.

  • On a serious note, weeky reminder: book Stannis is grossly different from the abomination which is his show depiction. Differences include: he doesn't burn people for being heretics, he doesn't mindlessly follow Melisandre, he's a declared atheist... although, to be fair, a lot of the humour in his scenes comes from the narration.

  • It's not even like all book readers love Stannis - he's rather unlikeable, he's just admirable. He's the guy you want to win because you know he won't make any compromise with the bad guys, but wipe them all out... if he succeeds.

  • The show tends to portray him as a somewhat evil character, with the omnious theme music and all those small changes. Example: In "Blackwater", Sansa and all the women are under the threat of getting raped by Stannis's troops, if they were to take King's Landing. Book Stannis is exceptional in that regard: he forbids his troops to rape and castrates all rapists among his soldiers. It's the sum of all those details that make Stanis the most distant character from the book original.

  • Did I mention Stannis didn't even need mercenaries from Braavos? All he had was 1000 mounted well-trained soldiers. It's not really unbelievable - concerning elite cavalry, Polish Winged Hussars have managed to win in one crushing charge outnumbered 5-to-1 against regular soldiers, while Stannis's men stomped over poorly armoured wildlings.

  • Mance's camp consists of many interesting characters, including the leaders of various tribes, Mance's wife and her sister, but I guess we'll get to those in the next season - many characters died so that the new ones could fit on the payroll. This includes Grenn and Pyp, still alive in the books.

  • Missing eye candy: Varamyr Sixskins, Mance's warg, possesses Orell's eagle (in the show, the warg guy who died at the end of season 3) to scout the Wall. Melisandre roasts the eagle alive while it's in the air, causing the warg to briefly go insane. I guess the Bran scene exhausted the fireball budget.

  • This does NOT conclude Jon's storyline in A Storm of Swords, there about three chapters (one from Samwell's POV) left. Don't hover over ASOS spoilers that refer to the Wall. Or the ones that you don't know what they refer to, actually.

If you want to experience the book presentation of the scene, here's the audiobook excerpt with a proper soundtrack in the background.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

You should know, the process may change him... somewhat - Qyburn, announcing the fourth recast for Gregor Clegane

  • The Mountain's fate is left ambiguous in ASOS, only to be speculated upon in AFFC. This means that the show has all but confirmed a popular fan theory, that Qyburn took care of him.

  • It's easy to lose of so many characters, so for those with worse memory: Qyburn was introduced in season 3, left wounded in Harrenhal, found by the Stark men. In the books, he was a part of a notorious unit of Brave Companions (aka Bloody Mummers), a terrifying band of mercenaries made of murderers, rapists, a paedophile septon and madman. Thos echaracters got cut from the show and replaced by the Bolton party led by Locke, who replaced the leader of the Brave Companions in the role of cutting Jaime's hand and delivering him to Roose Bolton.

  • A conversation between Cersei and Tywin cannot occur in the books since none of them is a POV character, at least not until the end of ASOS - the show allows us to see it. There's a actually a long plotline here that is yet to be concluded - it concerns Cersei's bethrothal to Loras Tyrell and the differences with the book Tyrells (book Loras has two older brothers, show Loras is the only heir - this changes the stakes for the Tyrells here).

How To Chain Your Dragon 2

The masters will take advantage of this situation - Barristan Selmy, wording politely "Your decisions will have horrible consequences and there's not much you could do"

  • I've covered the Ghiscari culture in the previous posts, so there's nothing more to add, as we haven't explored anything new in Meereen yet - we're already past ASOS scope on Dany anyway. So just mad props to the shepherd actor and that's it.

  • The ADWD material about Meereen will fit more for season 5 followups, we're yet to really get into that city.

  • There's a Polish proverb that goes "Smith stole, Gypsy got hanged" - sometimes a scapegoat takes the blame. Drogon is a big black motherfucker and it's not just the looks - he's described as the biggest and the wildest out of the bunch. Meanwhile, the two dragons easier to tame get chained - and that is surely going to turn out well for them...


You're going to help me walk again? - Bran Stark, thinking the whole deal with mind control, skeletal warriors, elf-hobbits and a talking bird was all just a big ruse to get him to climb walls again

  • Since he's probably written out from the show, now it's the time to write about Coldhands, Bran's guide in ASOS. He's a notoriously unexplained and mysterious character, riding an elk! He appears before Sam and guides him to the secret tunnel below the Wall, and then picks up Brand and guides him to the Three-Eyed Crow.

  • Some theories claim that Coldhands was written off because of his identity that the show would reveal too early (theories go even as far as suspecting him to be Benjen Stark, but he seems to be way too old for that), others simply blame the reduction of supernatural elements (Coldhands is most likely undead).

  • Both storylines come to common conclusion: Bran arrives under the tree, there's some supernatural help (Coldhands repels the wights in the books, Leaf throws fireballs in the show).

  • Speaking of Leaf: the elf-hobbit thingy is one of the last Children of the Forest, an ancient race inhabiting Westeros before the First Men came. The Children are the ones who grew weirwood trees. The First Men were at war with the Children until the Pact between the two races, after which some of the First Men have adopted the Old Gods. The Pact was when the weirwood trees got the carved faces (the term in the books is "heart trees", by the way).

  • Jojen isn't actually stated to be dead by the end of ADWD (!) but it's speculated upon that he might as well be. This really confirms the theory that Jojen is dead.

  • This is spoilery gray area, but the better codename from the books for Three-Eyed Crow is Bloodraven. It points out to his historical identity, but there is no other mention of the name in the show.

  • Slight inconsequence: the quote goes "with a thousand eyes and one", since the book Three-Eyed Crow is missing one eye, but the show Three-Eyed Raven seems to have them both.


There is no safety, you dumb bitch - The Hound, insulting a female representative of his species

  • Why wouldn't Arya check in in the Eyrie for some people that might have known her or something? Well, time for me to play the IT WASN'T IN THE BOOKS card. But really - Sandor gets wounded in that inn fight and the infection takes him down. The outcome is the same - Arya leaves him dying and goes to the Saltpans. The prolonged buddy comedy was a season-long strecht that in the end worked out well for the show.

  • This means that Brienne never met them, yeah, but a) in the books she fights Rorge, who's in Hound's helmet, so it kinda counts, and b) the fight scene was fucking badass. It was just very convenient to make those two pairs meet and the AFFC Brienne storyline is still open.

  • The scene at Saltpans is pretty much word for word from the book and this is where Arya's POV in ASOS ends. There is no specification of what the iron coin means exactly. Valar morghulis means "all men must die", valar dohaeris means "all men must serve". With Faceless Men being possibly involved in the founding of the Free City of Braavos (even disregardig the whole face-changing badass assasin thing), it's understandable that the Bravosi people instinctively help out anyone connected to the organization.

  • The last chapter of ASOS, as I've mentioned previously, is Littlefinger's "Only Cat" (Lysa mentions everything she did before Sansa in the same scene). Arya's departure is great, but left some die-hard book fans unsatisfied - especially since the ASOS epilogue would turn this episode up from 10/10 to 11/10.

Shit Happens

Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold. ~A Storm of Swords

  • /u/GRVrush2112 has already covered the whole context of this scene in his post. I don't want to be redundant, but I'll just recap this story without going into such extensive detail.

  • Tyrion's escape has a lot more to it in the books as he comes to face the harsh truth about his first failed marriage to Tysha. As you may recall from his story in season 1, Tyrion at first thought he and Jaime saved a girl, and after a while he married Tysha in secret. When Tywin found out, he was furious - he revealed that it was a ruse made by Jaime to get Tyrion laid, and the girl was paid to do so. Then he made Tyrion watch his whole garrison rape Tysha and pay her in silver, and made Tyrion do it as well, paying in gold.

  • Now here comes the turn: when escaping, Jaime reveals to Tyrion that Tysha wasn't a whore, the "ruse" was a lie made up by Tywin to break up the scandalous marriage. Tyrion, mad at Jaime, "confesses" to Jaime that he killed Joffrey and outs Cersei for fucking their cousin Lancel, Osmund Kettleback (book character, Kingsguard), "and Moon Boy for all I know" (a jester).

  • This gives a different tone to the brother's goodbye and more fuel for Tyrion's revenge. As far as Tyrion's characteristics go, there's a bit more to be said - he's not as perfect as the show makes him look like. When a minstrel threatens to reveal his secret with Shae, Tyrion has the bard killed and thrown into stew in Flea Bottom (slums). That's at least morally gray.

  • Book Shae does not love Tyrion - she's a simple-minded golddigger. This makes the murder more cold-blooded, the line "I'm sorry" would have no place in the books. Tyrion's commitment to Shae is a replacement for the Tysha story.

  • Finding Shae in Tywin's bed allows to connect some dots: Tyrion has been using the tunnels below the King's Landing when he was acting Hand of the King to organize the defense of the city and visit Shae (who wasn't in the Red Keep). From his dialogue with Varys it seems that the tunnels have been built and used in the past by Hand of the King - which is peculiar, since the tunnel leads to a brothel (not the Littlefinger's one). Everything indicates that it was Tywin who was sneaking around to brothels, but keeping it a secret, when he was the Hand to Aerys "Mad King" Targaryen.

  • Some theories go as far as indicating someone might have dosed Tywin (craziest guesses claim it was to ensure he spends the night in the privy), but there's no hard evidence to support that theory.

  • This concludes Tyrion's POV for ASOS.

The Small Letdowns

Don't get me wrong, the episode was 10/10, but we readers have overhyped it, expecting 11/10. Things we expected and didn't get to see are:

  • Riders shouting "Stannis! Stannis! Stannis!" and a glorified, not omnious atmosphere (it was still better than the worst 4chan predictions, so there's that)

  • Tysha reveal and Tyrion being much less whitewashed

  • The ASOS epilogue

Only three things, but those are one of the few most powerful parts of the ending of ASOS, together with "Only Cat" and the conclusion to the Wall plot.

  • The show still hasn't matched the ASOS spoiler scope in three regards: the Wall, Iron Islands and the epilogue (Riverlands). All of those seem to be postponed to season 5, to match up with related storylines from AFFC. Speaking of the epilogue, the keyword to be avoided like a plague here is [redacted]. It's the name of a new character, just don't read any spoilers that refer to that... or, just don't read any ASOS spoilers. Also, avoid the articles over the internet referring to new content. And fanart.

  • Links to all previous followups can be found here.

  • Here's a Gannt chart visualizing the development of the show story compared to the book chapters. As you see, this is becoming less and less of a line and more of a chaotic pattern.

Good stuff. Will include the Gannt chart below.

Visualization of the show compared to the book -- click through to see big version:

game of thrones visualization of TV show compared to book gantt chart Imgur

And here is GRVrush2112's analysis of the Game of Thrones season 4 finale:

Well, that was a polarizing finale..

Welcome back to the final installment (for this year) of "Adding Context for non-readers" a series in which I take an aspect of the most recent episode of "Game of Thrones" and add additional background information from "A Song of Ice and Fire". This week I wish to dissect the Tyrion escape scene that was prominently portrayed last night. And going into further detail and explain quite a few large elements that were cut from the show, and something of which book readers were very disappointed did not make it in. Well let's get to it..

Note on Spoiler Scope

This one is a bit tricky, for the better part this is a basic book vs show difference thread, but what exactly was cut from the show was rather large. I don't know how, and don't think the show runners would put this information back into the show at a later date, but there is still the off chance that this information could come in at a later date.. Regardless I will keep the topic limited to that, and a small bit of lore... Enjoy reading.

  • The Spider in the Black Cells

I guess before we get to Jaime and Tyrion, I wish to discuss Varys' role in Tyrions escape. Varys is very interesting, more than just the Master of Whispers and on the small council at King's Landing; Varys is a man with multiple faces, all of which aid him in his trade of information. His background of mummery (acting), aids him in various disguises and the taking on of different identities, in fact in the novels he does have several names and personas he goes by, only known to himself or those he choses to reveal himself to, each identity with their own look, personality, and smell. The most notable of which is that of a dirty man working in the Dungeons of Kings Landing as a man known as Rugen. Rugen had been working in the cells for many years while also carrying out his persona of Varys in the small council. In fact it was "Rugen" that had visited Eddard Stark in the black cells after his arrest in the first novel/season, and it is Rugen that aids in freeing Tyrion Lannister.

Varys/Rugen's assist in the freeing of Tyrion Lannister was not exactly voluntary, Varys in truth was compelled, threatened by Jaime Lannister to do so... In fact it was Varys/Rugen who drugged the guards in charge of Tyrion allowing Jaime to spring Tyrion from his cell. (Rugen's actual job was as an undergoeler and a turnkey). This leads to Tyrion and Jaime's their goodbyes (which we will get to in a bit), Varys later attempts to lead Tyrion out of the castle, but not before Tyrion wishes to make a visit to the Tower of the Hand (once again we will get to in a bit). Varys does not actually get on the boat to the unknown destination with Tyrion, but disappears into King's Landing under one of his many aliases.

  • The Imp and the Kingslayer

Tyrion's and Jaime's final conversation together in the show seemed very amicable and they left on good terms when they departed each other, but that's not exactly the case as it was in the books...

Hated for the best thing he's ever done and loved for the worst

After Tyrion and Jaime reunite when sprung from his cell the two Lannister brothers have a short conversation that is quite different from how it played out in the episode. In the books Tyrion inquires as to why Jaime would free him, to which Jaime replies that it was a debt that he owed Tyrion.. Puzzled by that remark Tyrion pressures Jaime for what he meant by that, and finally the truth comes out, the truth about Tyrion's first wife Tysha.

For a little recap, Tysha was the crofter's daughter that Tyrion and Jaime supposedly saved from rapists when Tyrion was still young; the young lady that Tyrion fell in love with and had eloped with. The same lady that when Tywin Lannister found out about had Jaime confess to Tyrion was in reality a set up for him to have a woman, the crofter's daughter Tysha was a whore to which Tywin gave to all his men and made Tyrion watch only to have her last. While this story has been told to the viewer (in season 1) and is terrible, Tyrion had never held any grudge towards Jaime for the incident; all the animosity for this was directed at his father. However the truth about the situation was even worse, the truth Jaime Lannister gave to Tyrion in those dungeons. The truth being that Tysha was never a whore. Jaime had been forced to lie all those years ago to Tyrion by his father to state that Tysha was a plant so Tyrion could have his first woman, but that was not true. Tysha, the daughter of a crofter had genuinely fallen in love with Tyrion and became his wife, and Tywin had done those awful things to her knowing full well she was not a whore, just to spite his son who married a woman he believed to be unfitted for a son who he believed the only positive feature was his family name.

Jaime knew this the whole time, this lie that he'd let Tyrion believe for his entire adult life. Jaime had reflected on this previously in A Storm of Swords when he recalls that he is hated for the best thing he'd ever done (Killing Aerys and saving Kings Landing) and loved for the worst (the lie that he'd let Tyrion believe). In any matter after this revelation Tyrion and Jaime didn't exactly hug it out in the dungeons beneath the Red Keep, in fact Tyrion was incensed, and a choice revelation for Jaime as well...

..and Moonboy for all I know

In the fury that Tyrion felt at Jaime's confession Tyrion in turn was asked one more time by Jaime if Tyrion in reality killed Joffrey Baratheon. Out of mere spite and in an attempt to hurt Jaime as much as he could Tyrion lied and "admitted" to Jaime that he had killed "his son", but that lie was not all that Tyrion gave to Jaime in order to hurt him. It was at that moment that Tyrion revealed his knowledge that for the amount that Jaime loved Cersei, that her love was not exactly reciprocated and that Cersei had been fucking "Lancel, Osmund Kettleblack, and Moonboy for all I know".

Now if you remember from seasons 1 and 2 you'll remember the Lannister cousin Lancel that Tyrion routed out and discovered had been sleeping with Cersei which fits into what Tyrion tells Jaime. But cut from the show was one particular member of the Kingsguard, a Ser Osmund Kettleblack. Originally brought to King's Landing along with his brothers by Littlefinger in order to act as a spy Osmund soon found himself a member of the Kingsguard, after Ser Boros had been temporarily dismissed. But why was he quickly promoted? Why did he rise so high so fast? Jaime wonders on this at a point during ASOS, and revealed by Tyrion that it was due to the fact that Osmund had been sleeping with the Queen.. The "and moonboy for all I know" was more or less to further the implication that Cersei had been less than loyal to Jaime even more than he probably knew, Moonboy was a fool at the court in Kings Landing, Tyrion was trying to imply that if it could be helpful to her, that Cersei would have seduced him as well...

In the light of both of these confessions that the Lannister boys made to each other their departure was very hostile, Tyrion threatens to kill Jaime, Cersei or Tywin if he ever sees any of them again. Tyrion leaves Jaime and rejoins with Varys to make his way out of King's Landing, but not before making one last stop..

  • Murder in the Tower of the Hand

For the most part what happened in the books happened in the show, but the circumstances and dialogue in which they happen are quite different...

My Giant of Lannister

I guess before we begin on this last section it might be important to slightly touch on book Shae vs show Shae... Book Shae was very much in her mind Tyrion's whore. Yes Tyrion did love Shae, and felt betrayed when she appeared as a witness in Tyrion's trial, but those feelings were never reciprocated by book Shae as they were by show Shae. Book Shae in reality was a bit vain and dull. This all leads us to Tyrion finding her in Tywin's bed when Tyrion made his way into the Tower of the Hand. She was wearing the Chain of the Hand of the King (the symbol of office the Hand of the King wears in the book is a chain not a pin), and only that. Book Shae and show Shae's reaction to Tyrion's arrival is very different as well, whereas show Shae made an attempt to grab a knife and attack Tyrion, book Shae tried to explain her actions, and state that she was forced to tell lies on Tyrion during the trial by the Queen. The tide for her turns when she once again calls Tyrion "My Giant" (for which Tyrion was laughed at during the trial) and then is strangled to death by Tyrion...

It is also worth to note here that the reason for Shae being in Tywin's bed in the first place is somewhat curious... The man who had for years been very vocal against prostitutes and whores, who had his father's mistress thrown naked into the street after Lord Tytos had died, the man who threatened to hang any whore he found in his son's bed... etc was found with one in his. It seems more than a tad hypocritical. In fact this was not only a confirmation that Tywin was a hypocrite in regards to ladies of the night, but a confirmation that Tywin had long been fond of the company of prostitutes. In A Clash of Kings, when Tyrion was making his way back and fourth to Shae he did so by a series of underground passages that lead from a hidden chamber in a brothel to a seemingly unimportant location to which Shae was staying.. Tyrion did this to avoid being tracked by any spy of Cersei's, Littlefinger's or other wise. However Tyrion is curious as to the origin of these tunnels, to which Varys remarks that they were built by a previous Hand of the King, who wished to keep his actions a secret... Most readers believe, especially after reading Shae in Tywin's bed that these tunnels were commissioned by Tywin Lannister, during his first time serving as Hand of the King under King Aerys II...

Tywin Lannister, In the End, did not shit gold

For the last point I wish to discuss the differences in the conversation that happened between Tyrion and Tywin. After murdering Shae, Tyrion did indeed grab a crossbow and visited with his father while he was on the privy. And just as it was in the show Tywin attempted to talk his way out of the situation by stating that he never intended for Tyrion to be executed. Tyrion didn't believed this at all and continued to question his father. But their conversation was not on Shae, but on his wife Tysha which Tyrion had just learned was never a whore. Tyrion wanted to learn where she went after Tywin had his men rape her. Tywin responds that he had the "whore sent away". Tyrion threatens to shoot Tywin if he uses that word again, and after a bit more questioning Tywin lets Tyrion know that he did not know what became of her or where she was sent, that he left the matter in the hands of his steward. Tyrion asks where the steward might have sent Tysha to which Lord Tywin responds "Wherever Whores Go". Tyrion looses the crossbow bolt and his father dies in front of him, but not before voiding his bowels... Tyrion then leaves the tower of the hand with two corpses in his wake, and rejoins with Varys to make his way out of King's Landing... And that is where "A Storm of Swords ended for Tyrion, and where we end our story for today..

Well, that is it for "Adding Context for non-readers" for this season and I hope you have all enjoyed reading these posts, I have enjoyed writing them. I will possibly have a couple of off season posts I could make later in the year, but will do those when those come to mind.. I have two in mind that I could do, I know I want to do a writeup of some sort after the Lore Book is released in October (The World of Ice and Fire), and probably an IRL article on the publication history of ASOIAF (hopefully that could coincide with with a release date announcement of a certain sixth book in a series).

So those are my plans going into the off season, in closing I will leave all you non-readers who have enjoyed this series, along with weekly followups from /u/lukeatlook with this... I have enjoyed shedding some light on additional context from the novels that expand what you see on the screen, and the goal in mind has always been for you to gain a more insightful experience in watching the show. But one other goal I have in mind is to hope for some of you who have not yet picked up George R.R. Martin's wonderful series "A Song of Ice and Fire" to do so, and gain an even much more deep sense of context yourself. So for the long 9 and a half-ish month wait until the start of season 5 do yourself a huge favor and dive into the novels this off season... You will be happy that you did..... And, Yes you have to start from the first book..... Until then, I will see you next season, have a great summer.

EDIT: To read all the other entries in the "Adding Context for Non-Readers" you can visit the hub for all the topics... HERE

Thanks for posting this.  Wow Varys!  Jesus Jaime!  Holy shit, Tywin!

I have been wondering if Jaime set the game in motion for Tyrion to kill their dad.  I still don't know the answer.

It's certainly possible.

I think both Jaime and Tywin thought Tyrion was too cowardly to kill anyone, so Tyrion's actions may have surprised them both. The book explanation makes a lot more sense as to why he'd do that.

True that.  

Without the books, the viewer's imagination can run crazy.

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